Canada clears the way for PetroChina oil sands deal

"To successfully compete in a globalized economy, we need to attract international investment, which can create jobs, raise our level of competition, and develop Canada's long-term economic prospects,” he said in a prepared statement.

The deal could have reverberations in the U.S. 

The Consumer Energy Alliance, a pro-industry group that includes oil companies among its funders, has cited the Chinese investment in warning against U.S. climate policy proposals that the alliance fears would hinder U.S. access to the oil sands.

The group opposes so-called Low-Carbon Fuel Standards, arguing that proposed standards are spurring Canadian interest in engaging with Asian energy markets.

Canada is the largest supplier of oil to the U.S. and a major share comes from the oil sands. But oil sands are very energy-intensive to produce and hence create more greenhouse gas emissions than many grades of conventional crude oil.

The Consumer Energy Alliance wrote to National Security Adviser James Jones in September asking him to review how a low-carbon standard might affect U.S. access to Canadian oil sands.

"Considering the close economic and strategic relationship we share with our friends in Canada, it’s always been assumed that the preponderance of oil produced from the Canadian oil sands in the future will be claimed by U.S. markets,” the letter stated. “News of China’s involvement in the development of those resources, coupled with renewed talk of constructing an east-west pipeline for exportation of this oil to Asia, casts serious doubt on that expectation.”

California is implementing a low-carbon standard and Northeastern governors are planning a standard as well. Early versions of the climate bill the House approved in June contained a national fuels standard, but it was jettisoned to corral votes.